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Beating the Heat at Clay Oven

July 16, 2013

I hear voices outside my room.

This building has, so far, been mostly deserted. Not many students are in summer classes, and this residence is still too new for it to be full.

But now it is, because of the Fringe!

Red River College has graciously opened its doors to Fringe performers, who every year struggle to find a place to stay in the city for two weeks. So far, I have chatted with half a dozen new renters who are all excited to be here.

The postering has begun, the tech times are in full swing… bring on the theatre!

As I mentioned Saturday, I was running back and forth from the city for Folk Fest and Fringe Fest. Friday evening, I had a spare moment in the city for a much-needed shower. My friends Josh and Rylaan decided to take this spare moment of breath to take me to Clay Oven‘s new ballpark location.

Clay Oven food

Delicious.

Upon entering the building, those recognizable spices were in the air. The elevator taking us to the top floor was postered with images of the spices I was smelling, informing me on the health benefits of tarragon and cardamom. A nice touch, which was sure to come in handy soon.

The restaurant itself was spacious, sleek, and modern. We were early, so we had our pick of the entire restaurant. We opted for air-conditioning and a booth (knowing full well we’d be dealing with spicy food).

Menu-reading became a large task – as someone not very familiar with Indian food terminology, I found myself confronted with dozens of new words. A separate menu informed us about their hakka appetizers and entrees (hakka is essentially Chinese food with an Indian twist).

Our server, Nicole, was a crucial part of our experience. While my friend Josh knew a lot about the menu, there were many questions that required more in-depth answers. Nicole was not only able to answer them, but offer suggestions based on her own preferences and which choices were popular.

Clay Oven food 2

Another angle on this beauty.

A smorgasbord was in order (we wanted leftovers for days): an appetizer platter (samosas, veggie pakoras, and paneer pakoras), mozzarella naan, vegetarian thali with naan, hakka manchurian noodles, and chicken biryani with basmati rice.

A soothing glass of red wine paired excellently with the variety of flavors we received. A similar effect was achieved with the cool minty yogurt sauce (similar to tzatziki) that came with my thali – delicious.

I’m a cheese fiend, so I was eager to try the paneer. It was good, with a really interesting texture. The paneer pakoras were particularly delightful, but in my thali the paneer fell a bit flat in comparison to some of the other dishes.

Mozzarella naan has to be one of the best inventions ever. It was better than any cheesy bread I’ve had at an Italian restaurant.

My stay at the Clay Oven at Shaw Park left me full but wanting to try more of their amazing food.

Eventually, I hope to know their menu off by heart. I intend to go back for lunch or dinner, especially on a day when they are empty (ie. when there isn’t a game on) and their servers can really dedicate a lot of attention to my questions.